The Carhop’s Diner Dogs’ journey only began with burger sauce, says Gina Giallombardo, who now co-owns the operation with her friend Annette Restifo.
“I owned the Highlander Tavern in Highland Heights a long time ago. That’s how we met,” said Giallombardo. “I tinkered with things for burgers and came up with today’s Carhop’s Burger Sauce. I sold all kinds of burgers there.”
When she sold the tavern, she put her sauce on the shelf and didn’t do anything with it until 2011.
Carhops Diner Dogs journey only began with burger sauce, says Gina Giallombardo, who is now co-owner of Carhops Diner Dogs with her friend Annette Restifo.
“Eventually we pulled it out and started tinkering with it and we tweaked it a bit,” said Giallombardo. “It’s sugar free, gluten free, no carbs, corn syrup, MSG – none of these, depending on what mayonnaise you’re using.
“Next up there is a huge demand for it and we said ‘wow’. A lot of people have compared it to the classic 50s sauce.”
Giallombardo said she and Restifo would then find themselves at craft shows and other events where the sauce was “sold out, sold out, sold out”.
“Then people said, ‘Well, you have the burger sauce. Where are the burgers?'” She said. “We looked at it and got small events, and next we do big fairs and festivals with burgers, hot dogs, the sauce and everything.”
Carhop’s Burger Sauce comes in three flavors: Original, Nitro and Smokehouse Sandwich Spread.
Carhop’s Diner Dogs covers most of Lake and Cuyahoga counties as well as Geauga Counties, Giallombardo said, and they introduce three sauce flavors – the original Carhop’s Burger Sauce, a flavorful version called Nitro, and Smokehouse Sandwich Spread, which Giallombardo calls “bacon in” Glass. “
The people that Giallombardo and Restifo meet are the best part of the business, Giallombardo said, and the camaraderie that follows.
“We met so many great people and were able to give something back to them,” said Giallombardo. “I’m at the Home Depot in Euclid every day and we just do one hot dog stand, but on the weekends we do this here at YesterTech. They do all kinds of restorations on vintage cars and things like that. It’s a lot of fun. “
When the coronavirus hit everything was redesigned, Giallombardo said. Small business support remains a priority, as is affordable prices.
The Carhop’s Diner Dogs’ journey only began with burger sauce, says Gina Giallombardo, who now co-owns Carhop’s Diner Dogs with her friend Annette Restifo.
“It’s about the community and about taking care of everyone here,” said Restifo. “And I think with the pandemic we just looked at how we do things one more time and I think that worked to our advantage.”
Carhops Diner Dogs can be followed on Facebook and Instagram.
“We always post where we are and what we do,” said Giallombardo. “We do parties, events, lunches, lunches in the office. It’s food and family.”